Setzer, Rocker and Phantom back together in the same room recording kick-ass rock and roll after forty years together. who’d have thought that?
Whilst they might be plying their tried and tested trade they’ve never been about reinventing the wheel they just want to preserve 1950’s Rock and Roll as best they can and look cool as doing it. Whilst techniques have changed and equipment has changed dramatically – Hell, how we listen to our music has also changed significantly over the last decade never mind forty years!
I guess it doesn’t matter what decade or timeline you’re preaching from if it ain’t got no soul it can’t Rock and Roll and the one things The Stray Cats can still do all the decades later is Rock and Roll and they’ve never forgotten how to write a tune or two either.
The album was recorded as a live band in a room in a couple of takes, pretty much as you’d hear them live I guess which in today’s money is a nuts way to do things and would puzzle a new bunch of kids. Most people don’t even spend time in the studio together they post in their parts and record ’em at home for the most part. To go back to the old school is a brave move even for these cats but the rewards are a rich sound that full of vitality and vibrancy.
Twelve cuts of prime lean Stray Cats is expected and to be fair the trio duly delivers the goods No special guests, no studio trickery – No autotune no sirs. It’s not so much the standard Rockabilly tunes that do it for me either, it’s the curveballs that I’m gonna champion.
Sure they kick off in super safe territory with the familiar shuffle of ‘Cat Fight’, ‘Rock It Off’ and ‘Got Love If You Want It’. All fairly safe even if they’re done to perfection this is the stuff these three can do in their sleep. It’s the rougher ‘Cry Danger’ that sets this record alight for me with its rolling guitar lick from Setzer and the cool backbeat that makes it a fine fine tune. Some impressive guitar playing from one of the greats but very understated. A top tune.
To follow that with the excellent ‘I Attract Trouble’ which is the coolest song they’ve come up with for many a year. again a great riff and throwing in a ‘pipeline’ riff as the swamp tone is smokin’. You can settle down then for some classic rock and roll fifties style with ‘When Nothing Going Right’ being an uptempo song that’s cool as but I’m not sure there was any need to throw in a mid-tempo instrumental in the middle with ‘Desperado’ but hey nobody said it was perfect.
If you’re looking for that smoldering ballad to close this bad boy then have a word with yourself because ‘I’ll Be Looking Out For You’ is a mean uptempo scorcher and one of the best tunes on offer and its a joy to hear Setzer let rip on that old Gretsch of his but they leave no room for a soft song for tough guys instead ‘Devils Train’ is swashbuckling and a really good ending to a well above average record. I was hoping it was going to be good but I think to be fair its exceeded my expectations, by including a few really good songs that aren’t so formulaic and honoring that traditional 50s structure is great to hear even after all these years that The Stray Cats can challenge themselves whilst keeping the quality of the songs so high. So ’40’ is a big Yes from me and if you like a bit of old school teaching you new tricks in these fast-moving times then you won’t go far wrong with this new Stray Cats record.
Not been so wet recently as summer seems to have graced Shit Island so let’s give you a few tunes to mull over on your Monday travels to work. first up from Derby brothers Johnny and George Marriott, PET NEEDS play fractured party music (apparently) so you decide but we think ‘How To Perfectly Pretend’ is a pretty good introduction to the band that I’m sure we’ll all be hearing a lot more form.
If that didn’t impress you how about this bunch of loons. Dboys is the name punk fuckin’ rock is their game. Check out this video before we hit you with a live review this very week.
Finally, take a squizz at this absolute cracker courtesy of Hillbilly Moon Explosion. Sparky from Demented Are Go features on ‘Jackson’ taken from their new album out this week on Jungle records.
When this tour was officially announced I think just about everybody connected with RPM, booked their tickets for a venue somewhere in the UK, not just for a re-invigorated Wildhearts, but to check out the late addition of Towers of London to open the proceedings.
As the time approached I got really excited by the thought of a night with such a variety of music on one bill!
It’s been a while since I caught up with the Wildhearts live, I’ve dipped in and out of them since the early days, (I remember catching them supporting a fledgling Manic Street Preachers in Cardiff University) as well as numerous festival and venue appearances, even catching Ginger on his Ghost in the Tanglewood foray into Americana. But the real kicker for me was the addition of Towers of London to this 3 band bill. I’d never managed to catch them back at the height of their notoriety, when they were being touted as Britain’s answer to G’N’R, it seemed like every week they’d hit the press with their latest outrageous incident or behavior, building to a frenzy that resulted in the group exploding, the music they created actually getting lost in the carnage.
Opening with “I’m a Rat” I think you could have picked my jaw off the floor, and I think the smile just got bigger as the gig went on. I couldn’t believe how tight and in your face the music sounded, how focused the musicianship and how much the band seemed to be enjoying things. Do you know what that enjoyment spread to an ever-increasing crowd and by the time we hit set closer “Fuck it up” the audience was well involved. To me, it seemed that the band had relaxed, stopped playing up to a tabloid image and were there for the music, for the crowd and to give things a real shot. It will be interesting to see in the future the support slots they pick up and if rumours are confirmed there’s a real biggie coming up which will connect them to an audience better suited to their brand of Punk/R’n’R. But ultimately if the new LP due hits the heights of this live performance they’ll be headlining SWX in their own right.
In the lull between Towers of London and Massive Wagons, I had cause to smile at a conversation between two Massive Wagons fans, noticeable by the T-Shirts about how easy it had been to get tickets for the Pink gig in Cardiff! Made me think about how diverse their audience is and how easily they could cross into the mainstream, which they seem to make a hell of a fist of doing. Now at this point I feel I have to be upfront and honest, I don’t particularly like their take on classic Rock, don’t get me wrong they are great at what they do but for me music has to have a sprinkle of stardust, something that sets it aside, an edge if you like, there is no edge to Massive Wagons.
Nothing I saw in the stage show changed my mind in any way, but I was very much in the minority, they went down a storm.
Waiting for the main Act to hit the stage thoughts drifted to what type of Wildhearts performance we were going to get, I needn’t have worried, with the p.a. turned up to 11 they hit the stage to a storming version of “Dislocated” from the new LP Renaissance men, and the drive and energy of the band hit you straight away, what an aural onslaught! Every time I catch the Wildhearts live my thoughts is always how clever the band is, how catchy the songs and how huge they should be, maybe this LP will put them right on the top of the pile.
Rolling into “Suckerpunch”, leading on to “Sick of Drugs” you could feel the paint peeling from the wall’s, this was one of those performances that made a statement. Without going into every song, I don’t think there was a weak track played or performed tonight, standouts in the main set for me? “Urge”, “Caffeine bomb” and “Love you til I don’t”.
But the band weren’t done we had a monster encore with “The Renaissance men” followed by “Someone that won’t let go”, “You took the Sunshine from New York,” “Mazel Tov Cocktail”, “My Baby is a Headfuck” and the evergreen” I Wanna go where the people go”.
The Earth definitely needs the Wildhearts/ Rock and Roll needs the Wildhearts, especially a Wildhearts, flat out, throttle down, focused and delivering an LP as consistently powerful as this newbie. Happy days!!!!!
The Wildhearts are riding on the crest of a wave right now. ‘Renaissance Men’, their first album in 10 years is an absolute monster, it’s currently at number 11 in the album charts and at least 3 of these 8 dates to promote it are already sold out.
It’s not just a good time to be a Wildheart either; it’s a good time to be a Wildhearts fan. With a sizeable chunk of the back catalogue getting re-mastered and re-issued on deluxe vinyl and the promise of plenty more dates this year, it is also an expensive time to be a Wildhearts fan, but we wouldn’t want it any other way would we? In 2019, there is more interest and more excitement about this band than I can ever remember.
Re-united and re-invigorated, the classic line-up of The Wildhearts is back, but are they back for good? Only time will tell. While this current wave of excitement could open doors and see great opportunities for a band who, let’s face it, have certainly paid their dues, I keep getting this niggling feeling that it could all go drastically tits up at any moment. So let’s enjoy it while it lasts.
Talking of things going tits up… fuckin’ Towers Of London are back! Where the hell did that come from? The original line-up that recorded the most excellent debut album ‘Blood, Sweat & Towers’ and then proceeded to burn out in a blaze of arrests and fisticuffs, are back together. There’s new music on the way too, they have unfinished business to attend to. What a time to be a rock ‘n’ roll fan!
Donny Tourette and the boys take to the stage with air raid sirens blaring and fire straight into ‘I’m A Rat’. It sounds fuckin’ ace! Dressed in matching black boiler suits and shorn of the gravity-defying hair of ten years ago, they may look a bit different, but with a newly reinstated The Rev delivering cool licks and a bare-chested Snell bashing seven shades of shit out of his kit, the band are on fire and looking like they really mean it.
While Donny’s nonchalant punk attitude is more Gallagher than Iggy, the delivery is still fantastic. ‘Beaujolais’ is punked-up to the max goodness, and newbie ‘Get Yourself Out Of Here’ with its chanting chorus and sleazy delivery is full of the right kind of attitude, it promises much for the new album.
A blistering version of ‘Fuck It Up’ surely silences any non-believers in the room and ends a high energy set from a band that is truly back to their best form.
While Towers Of London are not the fucked up kids of yesteryear, they have matured, learned a few things, but still have that edginess I desire from sleazy punk rock. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, no one can deny they were spot on tonight.
Whether they’ve got the new songs to rival the likes of the fantastic ‘Air Guitar’ or ‘On A Noose’ we will see, but I for one can’t wait to find out. Bring on new music, headline gigs and world domination then.
Now, if someone could please explain the appeal of Massive Wagons I would be most grateful, as I don’t get them at all. I’ve tried, but they are just not for me. A band fronted by a diminutive Game Of Thrones extra who sounds like Biff Byford, backed by a band who look like they scan your shopping in Aldi, call me fussy but…
Joking aside, in a live setting I can’t really fault them. They have energy, I’ll give them that much. Baz is an animated frontman and a loveable character, who can work a crowd and The Wildhearts crowd seems to love them. But that’s not enough. It would probably be ok if they had the songs, but for me, Massive Wagons just don’t have the songs, pure and simple.
I’ve seen them live several times now and my opinion hasn’t changed. I’m afraid to say I head for the bar not long into their set. Most Massive Wagons reviews I’ve read are positive, with many citing them ‘retro’. Me, I cite them ‘dated’. And in my defence I present their closing song ‘Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum’ as evidence, the cheesiest song I’ve heard in many years, and on that note I rest my case.
In all my years of seeing Wildhearts live shows, I can honestly say I have never seen a bad one, come to think of it I have never seen even an average live performance from Ginger and co, whatever the line-up has been.
Tonight is no exception, in fact tonight is probably the best I have seen them. It’s up there with the hot and sweaty Bristol Bierkeller show of ’94, its as heavy and loud as Edinburgh and Glasgow were in 2004, and it’s even as euphoric as the Chutzpah! show in Leeds 10 years ago.
From the moment Ginger cranks out that opening riff to ‘Dislocated’, the place goes nuts. Such a great response to a new song. A relentless cacophony of riffs and melodies that has the pit bouncing as one, signaling that this brand new song is already classed as a fan favourite.
It leads perfectly into ‘Everlone’, ‘Vanilla Radio’ and ‘Suckerpunch’ all delivered in quick succession, leaving no time to talk or even breathe. Going with the theme of ‘Renaissance Men’ it is a well chosen, heavy set of songs tonight. Mixing it up nicely, there are a few surprises in amongst the usual live favourites. ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ and ‘Jackson Whites’ are especially awesome and even ‘Urge’, which I imagined would be a disjointed mess, actually sounds amazing.
Bearing in mind that most people have only had ‘Renaissance Men’ in their ears for a week, the new songs get a great response. ‘Let ‘em Go’ was always going to go down well, it’s got a stadium-sized chorus that is up there with their finest hits. But it is ’Diagnosis’ that probably gets the best response of the whole night. What a fucking tune live! The way they build that AC/DC style riff to gain momentum, before releasing that main hook on an unsuspecting crowd, who in turn go absolutely bat-shit crazy for it. It’s a great feeling being right in the middle of the chaos for the duration. Like being a teenager discovering live music for the first time, all over again.
The band seems truly invigorated and on fire. Ginger and CJ’s vocals are spot on and the pair are full of energy, bashing out riffs and jumping in unison, giving photographers every opportunity to capture that elusive jump shot.
With bassist Danny McCormack now fit enough to make it through a whole set without needing his stool is a big, big thing. The loveable Geordie with a big heart and an even bigger bass sound just brings something special to The Wildhearts and it’s a joy to see him back where he belongs.
Post encore, the band mime through a version of ‘The Renaissance Men’ which is being videoed for a commercial single release on each night of the tour. Bit weird for all concerned, but the show doesn’t suffer or lose momentum.
A five-song encore is pretty good value at any show and with the likes of ‘Mazel Tov Cocktail’, ‘My Baby Is A Headfuck’ and ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ rounding the evening off nicely, who could ask for more?
Where The Wildhearts go from here is anyone’s guess, but my advice is to go out of your way, sell your children or steal money if you have to, but whatever you do, do not miss The Wildhearts live right now, as they are on top of their game.
As part of one of my son’s activities at school, I was recently in a theater filled with elementary school age children and parents watching the new kids’ movie ‘Ugly Dolls.’ It obviously would not be a movie I would be watching if my wife and I didn’t have children, but the time as a family is priceless. I am sometimes amazed by how much I know about Peppa the Pig, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and the like. I have seen Thomas the Train and the Cat in the Hat get eclipsed over time with these other shows and movie characters.
I have lamented the lack of importance and value of music in today’s world. There seem to be fewer and fewer well-known bands and artists creating a legacy and leaving an imprint than in previous generations. Over the years, music has been a powerful tool for people from a personal level to a societal level. It has provided comfort to us when needed to help us in our times of need as well as been a soundtrack for great moments. It has courted the ire of the powers that be due to its ability to unite people behind a common goal It has been condemned as a tool of a devil and the inspiration for teenage debauchery. I love going back through time and discovering old music. Time machines do not exist, but there is something magical about losing myself in old songs and imagining life at that time, whether it is Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five, Chuck Berry, Janis Joplin, or another artist. I love knowing what was happening at the time, what inspired the songs, and information about the artists. Those artists have also transcended time and continue to be widely known.
I do not see music resonating with as many people the same way today though. Music has become an inessential afterthought to the mainstream in many ways. With the internet, we have lost some of the iconic moments such as what it meant to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, being the musical artist on Saturday Night Live, having a video world premier on MTV, etc. These were significant things in our culture in the past. Musical genre did not matter as there were stars in seemingly every genre who would cross lines in terms of popularity. For example, I did not listen to country but knew who the artists were. In the 80’s, I was mainly a metal head, but my seeds of listening to everything were also planted at that time. I was listening to oldies as well as bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, INXS, and NWA. I didn’t realize at the time just how costly this form of salvation would cost me in the years to come. I even got an electric guitar around the age of 14 and had to come to grips with a hard truth- I have not one ounce of musical talent anywhere in my body. It did not stop me though from creating my own rock band in my head, writing songs (lyrics), and imagining giving interviews. After all, I had read that was what Joe Elliot of Def Leppard had done when he was younger.
I wasn’t thinking about any of this when the movie started the other night. I was wondering how loud all the kids would be during the movie, how bad the storm was outside, which way to go if one of my kids needed to go to the bathroom, and a hundred other thoughts. We sat through what seemed like 20 previews before ‘Ugly Dolls’ finally started. Almost immediately, we had the main character starting to sing a song and then other characters were contributing lines to the song. While I will say the poppy genre didn’t do it for me, I appreciated that it began with a song. Pretty soon, we had another song and then another.
Each song propelled the narrative in a way to engage the kids’ attention. My mind began to go down other avenues now where I thought about so many of the other animated movies and the songs that are attached to them. I have never been unfortunate enough to sit through ‘Frozen,’ but I know the hook from ‘Let It Go’ like it has been cut into my brain with a rusty nail. I can still hear the ‘Thomas the Train’ theme in my head. Just think of all the music in ‘Shrek,’ it is one of the reasons I really liked the movie. When ‘Trolls’ was recently released, both of my kids loved the music and wanted the soundtrack so they could sing along. If they hear any of the songs from the movie, they are dancing, singing, and letting me know it is from ‘Trolls.’ With all this flooding my mind, I started wondering where we are losing our passion for music and our willingness to support the artists. Kids obviously still love music. On a side note, one of my favorite scenes from ‘The Hangover’ is when Stu sings his short song while the tiger passes out from the roofies.
Twice per week, my son has a music class where he is exposed to different musical instruments and songs. They learn to sing songs, and some of them perform for us during the school year. I remember doing the same thing when I was in elementary school and thinking ‘Silver Bells’ was the best Christmas song in the world. I can’t tell you why; there was just something about it at that time. Band was important, even at that age to many students as they were already playing instruments, even if it wasn’t always what they wanted to be doing. Now, we have education budgets under fire with the arts being one of the first to always be on the cutting board. Perhaps, that was the same in the ’80s, and it just wasn’t part of my world at the time as I was too busy in sports to think about trying to play music. I can’t help but think though that it is part of where music as a cultural phenomena is struggling. It is being minimized, and that message is making it down to the kids.
Another possible factor is truly ironic to me. We have too much music which truly spreads popularity across so many artists that there are fewer and fewer icons. For those of us that love music, we are constantly discovering new bands and artists from all over the world. Within a day, I may discover several bands that I love such as the Dead Furies from Estonia or the Fadeaways from Japan. I might not have ever heard of these bands though back before the Internet. I am incredibly happy to have found them because I love the music. It can start to spread us thin though because there are only so many hours in a day. This month I find myself extremely excited that there are four new releases released I have been anticipating- the Darts, the Wildhearts, the Sweet Things, and the Glam Skanks. I imagine there will be someone else that suddenly appears which will also connect with me. How do I find the time to listen to all of them? Seriously, I am open to ideas on this one as the Darts and Wildhearts are already on constant rotation.
As the final song in ‘Ugly Dolls’ set up the final scene where the doll’s dream of being with a child is realized, I was pulled out of my thoughts and back to the hustle and bustle of getting out of the theater. I ultimately have hope that kids today will help us rediscover music and get it back to where it belongs in society. There is something to be said about people being able to remember more through the power of music such as recent studies of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have revealed.
I don’t think the platform to truly demonstrate the power of music has found itself again yet. Print magazines have sadly continued to disappear with the decline of book stores making that even more prevalent. We have wonderful music sites like this one, but we need to be in front of more people. We can be an excellent conduit for new music to the people who try and say there is no great music being made. It is being made, and it can be found all around the globe. It just takes a little more digging because it is not in heavy rotation on MTV or all over magazines at the check stands. People also do not have the record stores to lose themselves in and discover a hidden gem. The music is out there though. Let’s each make sure that we remember to tell others what music means to us, what music moves us, and why we need it in our lives.
Ok Ok settle down for a minute and take it all in. After signing a new record deal with Wicked Cool Records Ryan Hamilton & his HArlequin Ghosts have just dipped their toes into the choppy waters of Rock and Roll and after hooking up with Legend Mike Peters and his latest version of the Alarm and hitting concert halls of the United Kingdom does he announce that the new album is imminent and so is another round of headline dates to coincide with the record. these are certainly exciting times from Hamilton and we wanted to share the news and throw some questions at the main man so make yourself comfortable and read some words we put together – Ladies and Gentlemen Ryan Hamilton…
So Signing to wicked Cool must be a really cool move for you personally. How did it come about? did you pester them or was it Stevie hunting you down?
It’s been AMAZING. We found the perfect home with Wicked Cool. They heard a song called “Fuck You Brain” that Ginger Wildheart and I did together. After that, they started digging around and discovered our album “The Devil’s in the Detail”. Stevie Van Zandt then LITERALLY added HALF the album to his radio station. I didn’t even know that was allowed! Haha. After those 5 or 6 songs went into rotation on his station, our relationship with Stevie and the Label grew into something special… and even though I SWORE I wasn’t going to sign another record deal, I am so thankful that we did.
What noticeable difference have you experienced working for a label like WCR? is it less stressful or more stressful are the pressures the same?
Haha. BOTH! It’s been a big adjustment for me. I got VERY used to doing things on my own. So, to hand the baton to someone else and trust them to handle it… especially when you’ve been burned by Labels in the past, was a difficult adjustment. But they’ve been great about it, and I feel like we have a perfect balance now. They handle everything, but we are included in the discussion and decision process along the way. It’s rare to find a label like this. We seriously hit the jackpot.
I take it this album was recorded differently to the last studio record. No large country houses visited in Scotland here? or were there?
Haha. This album was different, yeah. Stevie Van Zandt worked on every demo with me/us. We even co-wrote a song together (Mamacita). How cool is that?! After the pre-production w/ Stevie, and whipping the songs into shape. I flew over to the UK to do the actual tracking/recording at Dave Draper’s Tower Studios. Other than a few guitar and vocal over dubs that were recorded at my home studio in Texas, the album was recorded at Tower Studios in Pershore, UK.
With a stable line up in the amazing Harlequin Ghosts. what qualities do the individuals bring? Heres your chance to big up the boys (and Girl) in the band (when I say Stable I mean…you know what I mean right?)
We are all VERY different. An oddball group of talented weirdos coming together to make something I truly feel is uniquely wonderful. Mickey is a truly incredible drummer. Rob is a truly incredible bass player. (I think they’re the best rhythm section around today… Period). Carol has the voice of an angel and makes me sound WAY better than I should, at every show. Haha. Amazing keyboard player, too! Dave is like a mad scientist on guitar. The dude is genius. So genius in fact… that it makes him pretty weird… But I love that. I’m a weirdo. We’re all weirdos. Outcasts and nerds that thankfully found each other. A British band full of crazy talented people, fronted by a Texan. Gotta love it.
Has it been easier to write for this record?
I don’t really know how to answer that question. Haha. It’s always the same for me. I’ve never been able to just sit down and go, “I’m gonna write a song”. I have to wait for them to come to me. When they arrive, seemingly out of nowhere, I have to grab them before they evaporate. This group of songs is the 12 best, from about 30 ideas/songs that I captured during the last couple of years. It’s without a doubt the best songs I’ve ever written. But I chalk that up to the legendary help/guidance I had on this album.
Tell us about a few of the tracks? I’ve been lucky enough to hear it and I felt it was a louder record than your previous records. Would that be a fair point? (Is Laney to blame bringing his Glam rock roots to the table) Some big riffs happening like the opening of ‘Mamacita’. This record sounds like it was made with a lot of laughs and if it’s possible for a record to smile then this is positively grinning would that be fair?
You nailed it! Haha. Mickey and Rob are old school Metal loving dudes. I can’t stand that music. True! Haha. But we’ve learned to embrace those differences, and this album is the sound of those different tastes, upbringings etc… coming together in a totally organic way.
Songs like “Mamacita” and “Get Down” are prime examples of us not overthinking anything, and just letting the songs happen. It’s WAY more fun when you operate that way… and like you pointed out, you can totally tell we’re having a lot of fun on this album.
The flip side of that coin: Songs like “This is the Sound”, “Feels Like Falling in Love” and “All Fall Down”… I let myself go deeper and darker than I ever have lyrically. Again, no overthinking… no trying too hard… just knocking proverbial walls down, and letting it happen. I think you can feel that realness on this album. Both on the darker, more serious songs… and on the fun ones.
I love some of the songs like ‘Feel Like Falling In Love’, ‘Far Cry’, then a change of gears on ‘All Fall Down’ you guys really hit the groove here, the record has mass appeal for sure touching on some great classic alternative bands like Soul Asylum on the title track (hope you’re good with the comparison? then you get a twist with ‘GirlvsMonsters’ with its pedal steel and brushes on the snare is some really good country rock, then ‘Same Page’ goes toe to toe with the likes of a Mellencamp and that’s a compliment (style wise) I hear a lot of great bands touching these songs but the album flows totally in a Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts way and the personality of the band shines through. That’s why I wonder if its been the easiest album you’ve written?
Oh, wow. Love those references. Thank you! I don’t know if it was the easiest, but it was definitely the most I’ve ever pushed myself to just let the songs happen how they were going to happen. No forcing anything. Just let it happen.
Tell us about a few of the songs. I’ve mentioned a few but we could talk about all of them here. Do you have any particular ones that stand out or you’d like to explain?
I know it’s not a single or even the best song on the album, but “Won’t Stop Now” is the most personal song I’ve ever written or recorded. So much so, that I almost left it off the album. I struggled to make it through a take without crying… and I have no shame in admitting that. But, leaving the song off the album felt like it would be going against everything this album is about. Ya know? Also… I’m not one to pick favorites… but there’s something magical about the song “This is the Sound”. I got a feeling about that one.
Is it easy recording a record with you living in different countries? how did the recording compare to previous albums?
It would be impossible without modern technology. In fact, this band wouldn’t exist without it. We’ve gotten into a routine that makes it work. I record the demos at home and send em over. Then after the songs are whipped into shape, we all go into the studio together. I guess that’s become our routine. Maybe it should be more complicated… but it’s not. Haha
You close the record off with the big ballad ‘Won’t Stop Now’ with cello and violins and something of a duet I know you mentioned it earlier but whats the song about?
The song is the most personal song I’ve ever written. It references the most difficult times in my musical life. Previous bands… related struggles… bullying… mental health issues…. and how difficult it sometimes is to find the strength to carry on.
One of my all time favourite bands is The Alarm I’ve seen them over 200 times in all sorts of line ups and form, you seemed to strike up a bond with Mike and the band on the last tour how did that tour come about?
I have SO MUCH love for Mike, Jules and that whole crew. Would love to play more shows with The Alarm. I’ve been welcomed into that family, and I feel very thankful for it. We shared a radio plugger, Tony. He was working our new single, and The Alarm’s new single at the same time. Long story short: Mike liked our music, and seemed interested in us supporting them. I mentioned it to Stevie, and he just picked up the phone and called Mike! Haha. Seriously. After that phone call, we made it happen… and haven’t looked back. I’ve learned A LOT from Mike . More than he realizes. From showing me different guitar tunings to play with… to sharing gear etc… To other things like amazing stories from back in the day.
What was it about the band you enjoyed?
He and Jules are such inspiring people. For a long list of reasons which I know you are aware of. I love them both very much.
Playing the Gathering as a two-piece you seemed to go down well in front of what can sometimes be described as a tough crowd. Over that weekend they are (in the most part) there to see and hear the Alarm and nobody else yet a lot of people were in early to catch your set.
Mike and Jules have worked hard over the years to get to where they are today and had immense self-belief and motivation to achieve the model cottage industry in the ever-changing music business. Is there anything, in particular, you got from being in their company that you can use going forward? you seemed to get along really really well and I hope it is a touring partnership that can continue in the future. He and Jules are such inspiring people. For a long list of reasons which I know you are aware of. I love them both very much.
You have some tour dates to support the new record in the UK. Are there plans for more touring later in the year possibly? What about North America does Wicked Cool have plans for you seeing as The Boss has a new album coming out it would make sense to maybe tour the world with the Springsteen gang? What are the chances?
We are touring SO MUCH this year. There are lots and lots of plans… most of which I’m not allowed to talk about… yet. Haha. But, for now… we’re currently on tour in America, and we have a UK Tour next month! Bring it on… all of it.
Catch you soon Ryan and I wish you and the band all the success with this new record.
Thanks so much!
There you go, folks, a few words from Ryan about the new record and what’s gone on and going on. Pick up the new record Here
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There seems to be a growing trend of bands offering album/ticket bundles right now and I’m all for it. As part of the promotion for new album ‘End Of Suffering’, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes announced a run of intimate, low key shows at record stores and small venues.
Billed as an album release show, the only way to gain entry to either of this evening’s 2 shows (an earlier acoustic set and a later full band electric set) was to buy an album/ticket bundle from Crash Records in Leeds. £24.99 for a splatter vinyl and a ticket to see one of the hottest live acts in the country play at my favourite venue? I only had 3 words…take my money!!
“I’ve been waiting 15 fuckin’ years to play this room…don’t let me down!” says a bare-chested and sweating Frank Carter before launching himself into the baying crowd during ‘Lullaby’…or was it ‘Juggernaut’? I don’t remember, as you see a Frank Carter show is chaos, fucking chaos! I knew this, I’ve seen him a few times now, that’s why I’m standing on the steps to get a good view, far away from the rabid crowd, who want a piece of this enigmatic frontman. A man who causes manic young men and women to lose their shit for the majority of a high energy hour or so show.
It started way more chilled than I expected, especially as the last time I saw them (earlier this year at Fibbers in York) it was the excellent ‘Crowbar’ that got things off to a frantic start. The acoustic, uncredited final track on the vinyl version of ‘End Of Suffering’ lends itself well as an intro tape before the band open with ‘Why A Spider Can’t Love A Butterfly’. The atmosphere is electric as the song builds and builds to a crescendo, Frank seemingly relishing the chance to get emotional from the off.
It’s not until the following ‘Tyrant Lizard King’ that the chaos begins. The crowd are off and bouncing as one unit, already singing the words to a seemingly new crowd favourite. An old crowd favourite follows. ‘Vampires’ makes the crowd truly react as the frontman desires, a smile across his face as the darkened room becomes an animated sea of flailing arms and legs.
For the next 50 minutes or so the onstage roadie earns his crust pulling crowd surfers from the crest of a human wave and guiding them stage left. If anyone outstays their welcome, Frank grabs them by the shirt and throws them back into the chaos, with a smile.
In this claustrophobic club environment, this band truly thrives. A young blonde haired lass makes it to the stage maybe five or six times, she’s all over the frontman, much to his amusement. Elsewhere a scrawny Frank doppelganger, with dodgy tattoos and an even dodgier mustache, is having the time of his life, on his back sailing a sea of hands.
The new songs fit the set well. The regimental ‘Heartbreaker’ has the crowd fist-pumping, as guitarist Dean Richardson thrashes the riff out on his battered Telecaster. ‘Kitty Sucker’ was always going to be a highlight, and while the beautiful ‘Angel Wings’ and crowd favourite ‘Anxiety’ offers a respite from the high energy show, the intensity of ‘Devil Inside Of Me’ was always going to get the crowd going again. And if anyone was still needing more, if there was just one person who felt they didn’t get their money’s worth yet, we get ‘Crowbar’, not just once…but twice in succession.
Those who are now spent gather themselves together with just enough strength to sing the band’s ultimate hate anthem ‘I Hate You’.
It’s no fluke that Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes will play third down on the main stage below Foo Fighters at Reading/Leeds festival this year. They are one of the most exciting live bands in the country right now, with a fierce reputation. They also happen to have recorded one of the best albums of the year in my humble opinion.
The band stay true to their beliefs, they sweat and bleed to deliver for their growing fanbase night after night, and I sure hope they continue to play these intimate club shows. Tonight’s show was a one off experience. Heavy, hot and totally exciting from beginning to end… everything you desire from a live rock band and more. If you missed it, then you missed out.
We got in touch with Mick from Grindhouse when we saw they were going to go on an overseas excursion and we wanted to get up to speed with what they had planned and for the uninitiated, it was a chance for Mick to set out the Grindhouse stall so to speak. Here with the chatter that matters about all things down under and Grindhouse is Mick ‘Two Fingers’ Simpson.
Its always been a hotbed of Punk Rock and Roll down under – sure it might have taken a while for us snobs in the Northern Hemisphere to cotton on to some of the bands but the UK can’t get enough of Australian bands at the moment and the trail blazed by the likes of Radio Birdman, The Saints, Cosmic Psycos and Rose Tattoo has recently been reignited by the likes of Amyl & The Sniffers, Grindhouse, The Chats (to name just a few – I Could go on) all making a dent in the scene halfway around the world. We wanted to get a hold of Grindhouse and see what’s up so we contacted Mick to get the inside track on all things Grindhouse.
G’day Mick. You say you were listening to bootleg albums of your rock and roll heroes hoping one day to imitate them. who and what albums were Grindhouse listening to in the back of that XD?
Ah I see you have done your homework, yeah I grew up on a lot of Australian independent rock kind of by accident. Not that I’m an old fucker but we didn’t have the internet back then so it was a case of finding bands by word of mouth or stumbling across them on peoples stereos at parties or riding around in cars looking for cheap booze and good times. That’s where I discovered Radio Birdman( Radios appear), The Saints, Tumbleweed( Galactaphonic) and Aasteriod B6182. Then wed go out on a Saturday night with a fake ID and watching these bands in the flesh. Ok now I feel a little older ha, ha
Tell us a brief history of the band where did you guys meet?
We all grew up in a seaside city called Wollongong but ended up in Melbourne, our drummer had unprotected sex and had to leave the band. We all warned him but he didn’t listen.
The nucleus of the band came from another garage band called the Wardens but I wanted an avenue to really play punk rock, sing about dirty shit and not give a fuck, that’s how Grindhouse came about.
You say you’re interested in vintage porn and Mosrite guitars. when you say vintage porn what are we talking here? John Holmes? and the guitars why the Mosrites?
Fuck me I probably wrote that when I first started the band and totally forgot to be honest. Pony plays a 64 Mosrite Ventures that sounds nasty as cat shit but very cool and I used to have a great vintage 70,s porn mag collection in the 90,s so maybe its art imitating life.
What does Melbourne make of Grindhouse? will you be welcomed back after your European excursion like prodigal sons or will they close the borders and pretend they’re out so you cant get back in?
We have a loyal bunch of misfits, part-time alcoholics, fare evaders, bum sniffers, serial masturbaters, Lube lovers, weed smokers, vintage porn collectors, speed creeps, and sex freaks we lovingly call Grindhouse fans and that’s just the members of the band.
Hopefully we just clear customs without a strip search( happy for a pat-down), other than that anything else is a bonus.
I’ve always loved me some Australian rock and roll but at the moment there seems to be a real demand for it over here in the UK. We recently had the Chats over as well as Cosmic Psycos and Amyl And The Sniffers and Radio Birdman always manage to play London or at least for the past few years. You guys are coming so what can or should we expect?
Its definitely taken off in the UK lately which is great, I think mainland Europe has always been the main staple of o/s touring for Australian bands so its great for bands to have the UK as another option. Historically the UK has always had a strong connection with Australian music from The Saints to The Birthday Party so its no real surprise. As for the mentioned bands, Birdman will always be Birdman but the next generation of younger bands coming through is great even for us as it creates interest in Aussie Independent bands. Amyl and the sniffers are a great live show, the Psychos seem to just find another gear and get better with age and The Chats just supported Iggy Pop in Melbourne so am I jealous? You better fucking believe it.
Any other recommendations you could tip us off with. Who would Grindhouse like to drag around Australia with them?
I love a band from Melbourne called Stiff Richards who id call the best garage band in Australia at the moment other than Grindhouse, there,s also a great Ramones inspired garage doo-wop band from Adelaide called Jullitte seizure and the tremor dolls who we love too.
Its been a year since ‘Can I Drive Your Commodore?’ came out. Are we near a follow-up? Tell us about any new music?
We have a plan to record a new album later this year with a working title of “ Sex, Punk, Power” and well be testing some of the new songs on the road which will be cool.
The titles on the record made me instantly smile and from those titles, I was buzzin’ to hear the songs and I knew exactly how they were going to sound. What’s the best title you’ve come up with so far? and why don’t more bands sing about Cheese and their love for friends like Gary? Isn’t shit cocaine dangerous? and is the Australian Car industry really dead?
I’ve always loved ‘Wild sex and machine guns” on our first album as its about a woman I worked with who loved those two things which cracked me up. Our titles are inspired by growing up in the suburbs of 80,s Australia so a lot of people connect to the songs. We don’t make cars in Australia anymore and we also have a lot of shit cocaine in this country so I’ve been told.
As for Peter Russel Clarkle, every band should have a song about a celebrity chef who loves tasty cheese.
Are you guys in shape now ready for a hot and sweaty tour of Europe? Can we have a bunch of shows in the UK, please
I don’t know if were hot but were sweaty and ready, id love to do the Uk so fingers crossed we can get there sooner than later. We have a band we love from Nottingham called The Hip Priests who wed love to do it with plus the beer in the UK is always ice cold.(it’s actually fucken very tasty).
Mick did say that they were looking to coming to Shit Island sometime next year hopefully with a brand new album under the hood so its our (and your) duty to demand it and make it happen by showing bands like Grindhouse that the UK loves them and wants to bring them here for some live dates.
Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghostshave announced a UK tour for June 2019 in support of the new album ‘This Is The Sound’.
‘This Is The Sound’ is released on 31st May 2019 on Wicked Cool, Pre Order the album Here the label run by Little Steven / Steven van Zandt, a long-time supporter and co-writer of current single ‘Mamacita’ –